How to Compensate Research Participants

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Knowing how to compensate participants is essential for anyone conducting market or academic research. Incentives encourage participation by rewarding survey respondents and panelists for their time and effort. However, choosing the correct incentive can be challenging. Gift cards are an ideal option to compensate research participants because they are convenient to deliver, popular among recipients, and flexible in value and type.

Why Should I Compensate My Research Participants? 

Persuading people to participate in research can be challenging. That’s especially true if your research requires participants to make a major time commitment or if the tasks are very complicated. In such cases, compensating research participants is an excellent solution to help boost recruitment. It lets you attract the specific demographics you need, and it encourages participation in future projects, if needed, since you’ve given recipients a positive experience in the past.

READ MORE: 4 Considerations to Determine the Right Digital Reward Value

How Can I Avoid Abuse of Research Participant Compensation?

It is only natural to have concerns about research participants abusing your offer of compensation. Unfortunately, online research fraud is a problem that you may occasionally encounter. For example, some participants may try to take a survey several times to earn more rewards, or they may forward the survey link to other people who aren’t in your target group. This can skew your results and threaten the accuracy and usefulness of your data.

In other cases, participants are so keen to get their reward that they take the survey extremely quickly. They may not think sufficiently about the responses they give or even read the questions. Again, this affects the reliability of your data.

Fortunately, abuse of research participant compensation is quite rare. But you should certainly take steps to prevent it and protect your incentives budget, including:

  • Use individualized, one-time survey links. Distributing unique survey links for every invitation allows you to limit each participant to one response. Most survey platforms offer this capability. In the case of anonymous surveys that require you to redirect respondents to enter the delivery address for their reward, set it so the entered address must match the address where the survey invitation was sent.
  • Use built-in survey platform safeguards. Survey platforms offer a range of security features that you can implement to help protect yourself against fraud. Many tools can detect duplicate responses coming from a single device and prevent them. Also, thanks to cutting-edge machine learning and AI technologies, platforms can identify any respondent completing surveys too quickly. They can also implement Captcha technology in order to weed bots out. Choose whether to discard fraudulent submissions automatically, redirect them separately, or flag them for filtering and inspection. 
  • Use approval workflows to review respondents before sending rewards. Not only do survey tools offer platform safeguards, so do rewards management platforms like BHN Rewards. When using end-of-survey forms or collecting emails for reward delivery, tell recipients their reward will be subject to your approval. Many potential cheaters will be discouraged by this. When you turn an approval workflow on, a research team member can review and confirm every entry before sending the reward out. BHN Rewards also offers bulk approval capabilities that make it easy to approve and review multiple survey responses quickly. 

What Kind of Incentives Are the Best Option for Research Participants? 

There are several incentive types that you may offer to research participants. Digital gift cards are an excellent choice and are very popular among researchers because: 

  • They offer the benefit of easy and free delivery, even to international participants. 
  • It’s easy to find gift cards to suit a wide range of participants. With so many different brands, stores, and categories to choose from, there’s something for everyone. It’s also easy to choose different values to suit different needs. 
  • Recipients enjoy getting gift cards and appreciate being able to choose their own reward. 
  • When using a rewards management platform, it’s possible to simplify the process of distributing digital gift cards to participants. The platform integrates with existing systems and allows you to automate delivery by email. As a result, there’s no need for manual processes or spreadsheets, so you save time and effort.

BHN Rewards is a reliable supplier of digital gift cards for research incentives and offers a convenient, integrated rewards management platform.

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